“Irvine City Hall is absolutely packed with pissed off Vietnamese citizens,” according to Irvine Finance Commissioner Allan Bartlett, as posted on his Facebook page.
What happened? To make a long story short, Irvine Councilman Larry Agran completely stepped in it – he angered the entire Vietnamese community in Orange County. “More than 1,000 signatures were gathered by Vietnamese on-line petition against Agran adding Nha Trang a Vietnam city to Irvine’s friendship city plan,” according to Irvine Councilwoman Christina Shea’s blog.
Former State Assemblyman and current State Board of Equalization candidate Van Tran and former Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep organized eight busloads of Vietnamese community activists to attend tonight’s Irvine City Council meeting. And they weren’t the only ones who showed up. Two Democratic elected officials – State Senator Lou Correa and former State Assemblyman and current Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee Jose Solorio were there to rip Agran as well.
Solorio even posted this message on Facebook, “I too just came back from Irvine City Council meeting. Hundreds of people there – myself included – speaking in opposition to a proposal to develop a “friendship city” relationship with a city in communist Vietnam. That is unacceptable until we have freedom and human rights in Vietnam!”
Shea also reported that “in 2006 Councilman Agran’s colleague, then Mayor Krom, traveled to mainland China, and signed a One China Policy vacating our relationship with our Taiwanese sister city. Over 300 people came to protest her support of communist China over our democratic ally…with the US having hundreds of democratic allies why does Beth Krom and Larry Agran desire to foster Friendship cities within communist regimes, inflaming our Irvine and Orange County community?”
“We escaped from that country, and we came here,” said Peter Pham, president of the Vietnamese Federation of San Diego, who said he escaped a labor camp in 1977. He stood outside City Hall holding a large South Vietnamese flag, with his wife Helen. “We are the ones fighting for freedom. We moved here. We live here. … And we cannot allow any communist to come here,” according to the OC Register.